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Russia Arrests Nuclear Scientists Who Used a Supercomputer to Mine Bitcoin

Stacks of bitcoins sit near green lights on a data cable terminal inside a communications room at an office in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. Chris Ratcliffe—Bloomberg via Getty Images

How crazy has the Bitcoin phenomenon gotten? A group of Russian scientists who were supposed to be working on that country’s nuclear warheads chose instead to use the supercomputers at their disposal to mine for cryptocurrency.

As you might expect, it didn’t work out well for them.

According to the BBC, Russian officials have arrested an unknown number of scientists for the security infraction at the Federal Nuclear Center in Sarov, a restricted area in the western part of the country.

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“There has been an unsanctioned attempt to use computer facilities for private purposes including so-called mining,” the center’s press service told the BBC.

The supercomputer the scientists allegedly used was actually not supposed to be connected to the Internet at all, as a security precaution. When the scientists went online, that tripped a warning at the center’s security department. It wasn’t long before the wannabe crypto tycoons found themselves in hot water.

Sarov is part of the heart of Russia’s nuclear operations. The first USSR nuke was built there, and anyone who wants to enter the city must first receive permission from the Russian government.

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